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All That Glitters


So Many Questions


By Richard Alan In many professions there are certain tricks of the trade of which the public may be unaware. What moving company would leave the garage without a pocket full of black or brown crayons to touch up dings and scratches that can appear during the moving process? Or grocers who wax or spray water on fruits and vegetables to give them appeal. Same holds true for the jewelry business. Fancy, expensive lighting can make the worst quality diamonds or gemstones look more attractive when you view them in the store, Then, when you leave the store with your ... Read More »

Yet, More Questions…


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan The most common question I am asked as a jeweler is “how much is it worth?” Sometimes, the answer is cut and dry. For instance, a mass produced, Italian-made 14-karat gold rope neck chain can be weighed and calculated at the current gold market price. Let’s say it weighs 20 grams; the retail price could be between $1,500 and $2,000. That’s kind of a ball park figure because it all depends on when and where you purchased the item. If the chain was purchased ten or so years ago, the purchased price would have been ... Read More »

Questions and Answers


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan I hope to debunk wives tales and inform the misinformed in the next couple of issues about “all that glitters.” Also, always feel free to email any questions you may have about jewelry, diamonds or precious gems to Falsehood #1… You can take a bunch of little diamonds and melt them together to make one large one. Diamonds are individual carbon crystals that take millions of years of pressure and high temperatures to form, one can burn a diamond and ruin its appearance but never melt one. It would be like melting two jet ... Read More »

Inquiring Minds


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan Over the course of a single day, I can be asked lots and lots of questions pertaining to my profession. The questions can begin with: Why? How come? Or my favorite… How do you know? For those of you reading my column for the first time, let me catch you up to speed. I make my living as a goldsmith. In a nut shell, the following is what many goldsmiths do… He or she is a technical professional who works with gold and other precious metals and gemstones. A goldsmith can design, create and fabricate original ... Read More »

Where’s the love?


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan I had an eye opening experience the other day, while serving a friend in my shop who was picking out a “no apparent reason gift” for the lady he was head over heels in love with. This was one of many baubles he had presented her in the past couple of months. While my Mom was gift wrapping the piece of jewelry he told me how much joy he experienced just seeing the look on her face when she opened the box and put the new piece of jewelry on. There was a mention of ... Read More »

Hot and not so hot


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan The 2012 holiday shopping season is off and running, and I can safely say giving a piece of jewelry as that special gift will become as popular as it once was. Notice I said jewelry – not fine jewelry. Since early October, certain items have been selling well, and there is a reason for this. The past couple of gift giving seasons for the jewelry business can be summed up in one word… Dismal. Even De Beers, the largest diamond conglomerate in the world that refused to spend millions of dollars on blanketing TV ads, ... Read More »

JEWELRY REPAIR: 103 rings and things


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan  Ring sizing is one of the most common repairs or alterations when a customer’s ring is either too large or too small. To reduce a gold ring, let’s say from a size 7 to a size 4, requires cutting out a small piece of the bottom of the ring shank, carefully closing the gap and welding the seam with the same color and karat of gold. The welded seam is then filed, sanded, polished and returned to the customer like new. And yes, if requested, I will return the removed piece of precious metal. This ... Read More »

Jewelry repair 102: Watch batteries

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan The reason I’m explaining the process of simple repairs is to educate and eliminate the mystery of what actually happens to your ring or chain or any piece of your beloved jewelry when you need it fixed or restored. The most common event in my shop is simple watch battery replacement. Simple right? I usually charge $10.00 for the average watch; most Timex watches require a lithium battery that cost $15.00… go figure: an inexpensive watch with the most expensive battery. I offer coupons on the island that can lower the cost by $ 5.00. ... Read More »

Jewelry repair 101

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan  You notice your diamond ring is snagging on clothing and towels and such. You’re thinking, it’s been a while since you last had the ring professionally inspected, cleaned and polished. You have a busy schedule as it is, who has the time? Great, now the ring has snagged your blouse! Good news is, it only takes seconds to inspect a diamond ring and minutes to clean and polish it. Bad news is the snagging ring could be the result of a missing or bent prong. I would suggest you no longer wear the ring in ... Read More »

Appreciation = multi-faceted perks

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan My Mom, who happens to work part time for me, watched me wait on three customers in a row the other day. After the last person left the store she remarked, “Did I drop you on your head one too many times when you were a baby or what?” You just waited on three customers that entailed fixing this, adjusting that, a solder here, then you checked and polished the last customer’s wedding set and bangle bracelets, and after all that you did not ring up a single nickel in the register. Are you telling ... Read More »

Mallorca….where the angels go for holiday

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan It’s another beautiful day in southwest Mallorca! I write this from the balcony of our hotel room on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean in tranquil Cala Fornells, which is a small inlet near Peguera. It’s hard to believe I am less than 20 minutes from the capital city of Palma and the busy airport! I have just come to realize this vacation has involved a lot of cliff driving with hairpin turns and dizzying heights, a complete opposite of the flatlands back home! Anyone who has experienced the sheer terror of driving in a car ... Read More »

Same as it ever was?

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan The jewelry business will never be the same; it’s a simple fact. I guess I will always remember the good old days. Funny thing is it was not that long ago. In the good old days, like only four years PAST, I rarely missed a trade or buying show both here and abroad. My wife and I loved traveling through Europe hunting for the unusual and what would be the rage in the months to come. Year after year, we were successful in our search for innovative styles of jewelry and gifts that would be ... Read More »

Nothing’s like it used to be

ALL THAT GLITTERS by Richard Alan My grandfather would often lament that they just don’t make things like they used to. I would hear him say it from the 1960’s when I was knee high to a grasshopper and continually until the day he sadly passed away. And you know something? Today, he would have been so right. My house is only five years old. I have replaced my living room television and kitchen microwave three times, a security and garage door opening system that has been replaced or repaired innumerable times, at least three new pool pumps and let’s not ... Read More »

Battle of the bands

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan I have just returned from my old New England stomping grounds to celebrate my niece’s graduation from nursing school. I got to mingle with folks I had not seen for many years and I couldn’t help but notice all the wedding bands I had created and sold years ago to my relatives and friends. (And they would bring it to my attention!) Many are still married to their high school sweethearts. But here on the Rock, living the dream in the new Millennium, marriages come and go like hurricane season, which reminds me of a ... Read More »

Bigger isn’t always better Read more

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan One of the many hats I wear during any given day as goldsmith/jeweler, is the job of an appraiser, which involves the act of evaluating jewelry, diamonds or precious gemstones. The appraisals can be for estate or insurance purposes or for the simple reason of needing to know. With most things in life, there is a time and a place to ask such questions or demand my services. Sticking a ring laden hand in the face of your local jeweler while he is enjoying a late night candle lit dinner with his wife in their ... Read More »


ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan I received an e-mail from a long lost cousin whom I haven’t seen hide nor hair of in over twenty years. He was interested in investing some of his nest egg in gold bullion and asked my advice on where and how much gold he should buy? My advice? Where the heck has he been for twenty years? I asked him if he had been stored in deep freeze or some such thing. Talk about waiting at the airport, waiting for your “airship” to come in. I explained that gold is at the highest price ... Read More »

The April birthstone…Diamond

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan March wound up being a busy month of making diamond purchases. Actually, it was amazing! Diamond sales have been sluggish to say the least in the past few years, yet all my diamond vendors are claiming demand is up and business has been improving steadily. The demand for my diamonds was in earrings, pendants and several engagement rings, the Halo design being the most popular style. The Halo design is a center diamond, round, square or cushion shaped. It’s surrounded by smaller diamonds or precious stones and very affordable because the center diamond does not ... Read More »

A kind and gentler jewelry

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan Over the years, I have been commissioned to create jewelry for all walks of life, including certain individuals with tails, or let me rephrase that, customers’ pets. There are more than one of my four legged clients gracing our dog park who are sporting sterling silver or diamond studded 14 karat gold dog tags. Now, don’t get any ideas about attempting to relieve one of these cute canines of his or her bow wow bling. One in particular happens to be a very large and ferocious German shepherd and, unless you are immediate family, you ... Read More »

Why no becomes the only option

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan It’s a sad day for me anytime I have to refuse service to certain clients. No, I’m not a bartender, although I am often asked what my opinion is about jewelry and certain subjects about life in general. The major way I make a living is with my hands busy at my work bench and on any given day, the things that appear before me can be a bit confusing to any other goldsmith or bench jeweler or any one else for that matter. Confusion? Just the other day I started with a malfunctioning strap ... Read More »

What’s love got to do with it?

Richard Alan Another Valentines Day has come and gone, and most thoughtful gentlemen avoided the consequences of ignoring a romantic holiday that for most men is fatally easy to ignore. Yes, I said fatally. Ignore Valentines Day and endure the pain and silent misery that comes from that decision. It’s true that the week before the lover’s day is a very busy one for those of us in the jewelry business and it has to be even crazier for the florist next door. Years ago, flowers, a box of chocolates, and a fancy romantic dinner more than did the ... Read More »